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Literary Treatments of the concept of Domesticity

The concept of domesticity or home life is treated differently by different writers. Some see it in terms of marriage and the normal home, while others may see it in terms of a different sort of home situation.

The home is depicted in Ralph Waldo Emerson's writings, for instance, as the place to which the individual repairs in order to escape from the vicissitudes of the outside world and as a locale where one can indulge in thought and study. Emerson may place high value on communing with nature and with learning from nature, but at the same time he certainly has a strong sense of the importance of home. Emerson expresses his philosophy in essays and poems extolling the virtues of nature, elevating the concept of self-reliance, and showing a dedication to mystical beliefs in the interconnectedness of human life with nature. Self-reliance is an American virtue that Emerson describes at length in his writings, including in an essay titled "Self-Reliance" and a poem with the same name. Emerson was a transcendentalist with a particular view of how human beings could commune with nature and who they were to turn inward to seek strength from themselves. He makes clear in the essay "Self-Reliance" what he means by the term and how he sees this as a major virtue for human life when he cites some verse offering the following advice: "Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string" (1046). For Emerson, the outside world of experience is where information is gathered and where one encounters all-important nature, but one can reach the oversoul by meditation and thought in the study.

The home is depicted as a place that should be a refuge but often is not in Hawthorne. The home and garden in "Rappaccini's Daughter" is a deceptive sanctuary in which the daughter seems at home, but a home should not be a place form which one cannot escape, as she cannot escape from this home or this garden. Adam and Eve were cast out of...

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Literary Treatments of the concept of Domesticity. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:30, May 24, 2020, from